Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Twitter doesn’t do a very good job telling you what it does, or why you’d want it.As a result, Twitter is a very misunderstood social network and tool by the vast majority of people.
We try to convince people to use Twitter and they say, “I don’t want to know when you’re brushing your teeth.”
This was Twitter’s past. We’re here to tell you about Twitter’s future, and why you absolutely need to be on it to stay relevant in today’s world.
To us, Twitter is all about curators: people you follow who aggregate information for you about a specific topic since you don't have time to.
If you love sports, follow @ESPN and your favourite ESPN sports writers. This way, you'll never have to consult your 'bookmarks' bar again.
One of our favourites is @BreakingNews, which provides us with the most important news updates. They pick the sources and post the best articles for you.
Remember when the news broke when Osama Bin Laden was assassinated via a tweet (pictured)?
You never ever would've seen 'hot damn' used to describe it in any news publication's headline.
Conventional news sources often have time-consuming editorial processes that scrape out bad grammar, inappropriate content, and other objectionables.
Conventional news sources also don't publish stories until stories have been written, even if the real scoop is just a sentence or so.
Twitter allows brief, honest commentary that travels from the horse's mouth instantaneously.
As we look through our Twitter feeds, we noticed one thing: almost every Tweet has a link tacked on to the end of it.
Why? Because Twitter has turned into one of the predominant content-sharing platforms in the world, right up there with Facebook.
Except unlike Facebook, a Twitter feed isn't bogged down with party photos, event invites, and 'look who's friends now' posts.
Why all the link-sharing? Because people see great content online every day and nobody wants to pester their friends with a million links via email. People want to share links, but in a non-intrusive way.
Twitter forces even the most vocal people to cut down their thoughts into 140-character or less pieces, which enables you to see what they really want to say.
Listening to even a smart person talk for an hour can get monotonous. Listening to a smart person tweet their favourite tips, proverbs, and life lessons? Now that's useful.
Here's a nugget from motivational speaker Sean Stephenson (pictured).
Twitter is the only way to hear what your favourite bloggers and writers really have to say.
Following a news publication is great for getting up to the minute news, but what's more interesting is hearing the colour an individual writer can add.
Following @nytimestech (New York Times Technology) is fine, but following @Pogue (David Pogue, the head tech writer at the New York Times) is even better because his Twitter account isn't edited by the New York Times.
If you were to read Pogue's column on paper in the New York Times, you wouldn't get the 'final word' he adds via bite-size chunks on his Twitter account.
One of the stressful parts of Twitter is the guilt associated with losing track of your feed for an hour or two.
But, the great thing about Twitter is that if you follow important people related to topics you care about, odds are they'll still be talking about it an hour or even a day later.
Just ask Business Insider Senior Writer Dan Frommer (@fromedome), who follows 1,461 people.
It's better to follow a lot of people, so you can always have a great grasp on what's happening right now from multiple perspectives.
So you just got home with your shiny new iPad 2 and after a couple days, your Wi-Fi drops periodically and isn't very stable.
You ask your friends if they're having the same problem, but nobody splurged on an iPad 2 like you did.
Twitter is your best friend here. Type 'iPad 2 Wi-Fi' and feel better that you're not the only one complaining about it.
This applies to any problem you're having that others might have, including a question like 'why's there a massive roadblock on Park Ave?' All you'd need to do is type in 'Park Ave' to see what people are saying about it.
No one platform makes essential information as public and as omnipresent as Twitter.
Almost every celebrity, sports star, writer, or CEO/founder has a Twitter, and following them is the best way to hear what they actually think, when they actually think it.
When you follow someone for a long period of time, you develop a subconscious closeness with them, almost like you feel about a TV show character who you've been watching season after season. It's a warm feeling.
Twitter is hands down the best way to get in touch with celebrities (the ones that use Twitter, and don't just hire a PR company to man the helm for them).
If you tweet something interesting at a celebrity who uses Twitter and they happen to be looking at their mentions feed, there are decent odds you'll get a response.
Getting a celebrity to tweet at you is even better than passing them on the street. That person knows you're alive, and they just spoke to you.
There's no platform like Twitter for interacting with celebs and getting honest responses.
Following comedians or fake celebrity accounts on Twitter is incredibly enjoyable.
When every tweet is 140 characters, every joke also has to be 140 characters, which means the ones that hit home are truly brilliant.
And the best part? The best jokes and funny tweets get circulated super quickly via re-tweets.
Twitter is a fun way to communicate with others, but what if your friends aren't using Twitter?
It doesn't matter much, because the most value you'll get from using Twitter is following smart people who know what they're talking about.
Or, from following crazy people like Charlie Sheen for pure entertainment value.
When you turn on your phone after your flight lands, the first thing you should do is check Twitter to see what's going on in the world.
Twitter has built wonderful mobile apps for every platform, and we love Tweetbot in particular for iPhones. There's no better way to check the news on the go, especially when you're following an account like @BreakingNews or any of the news networks' Twitter accounts.
If these reasons can't convince you that Twitter is something big that you'd want to be a part of, let Apple do the convincing. They choose companies to partner with very, very carefully.
Apple is baking Twitter into iOS 5 and every new iPhone coming this September.
You'll be able to Tweet pictures, links, and more from many native iPhone apps. Also, every contact will have a new slot for their Twitter username.
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